Archive for Dallas Wedding Dj

Everybody Thinks He Can Be A DJ!

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by djscottshirley

Loyal Blog readers have heard me say that everybody and his dog thinks he is a DJ now. Many have seen the now-viral photo of my chimpanzee DJ.

Just when you think you have seen it all, the trend becomes a royal mess – yes, HRH the Prince of Wales had to try it out:

Perhaps I should take up polo.

“And They Will Throw Rice at Your Wedding”

Posted in Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by djscottshirley

I write a lot about traditions. I have posted about ethnic traditions, school traditions, family traditions, yachting traditions, and weird traditions.

At Texas A & M University, the big joke is that if you do it twice, it’s a tradition. Their Traditions Council has recorded the origins of some of their long-standing traditions. But the origin of many traditions is often lost to the mists of time.

Do you remember the last time anyone threw rice at a wedding?

Newlyweds were once pelted with rice when they left. Now birdseed seems to be the weapon of choice.


It was the tradition for many years for guests to throw rice as the Bride and Groom made their honeymoon getaway. The origin for this is vague, but it is supposed to symbolize wishing prosperity and fertility to the newlywed couple. In other cultures, guests might throw dates or figs.

In America we stopped throwing rice, in favor of birdseed, due to fear of harming birds. Seems the birds would eat the dry grains of rice, which would expand in their stomachs, ultimately causing the poor bird to explode. Everyone now “knows” this, and it is simply not PC to throw rice any longer.

Turns out it’s all nonsense.

Why aren’t there stories about exploding birds? Because it doesn’t happen.

Pigeon shrapnel!

I always suspected this. I recall driving through the rice fields of south Louisiana and seeing that they were filled with birds. Some were eating the crawfish and other critters in the flooded rice paddies, but many birds were eating rice. And we never once saw a bird explode.

Our culture is so pre-programmed to believe that any story that gets repeated enough must be true. So it became universal practice to use birdseed instead of rice. The past few decades have seen couples running through bubbles, rose petals, and sparklers as well.

There are some practical reasons to favor birdseed. Rice can be hazardous to walk on, and a bear to clean up. Many venues banned rice for these reasons…but it had nothing to do with exploding pigeons. And so far no one has exposed a conspiracy by bird seed companies to promote their product this way.

I recently heard of a hazardous birdseed story. Someone purchased birdseed for a wedding that was specially treated to keep squirrels from eating it. After showering the bride and groom with it, they developed a painful burning and itching, as did many guests who came in contact with the seeds. Turns out the active ingredient was capsaicin, extracted from chili peppers. That was a hot wedding!

So now that the truth is out, will we see a return to the rice throwing tradition?

We now have special "Designer Wedding Rice"

There are new, improved rice products being marketed for weddings that are supposed to be safer and easy to clean. Some is even heart-shaped! And it won’t make birds explode – just as regular rice won’t.

Amateur Wedding DJ Horror Stories

Posted in Professionalism with tags , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by djscottshirley

We hear them all the time. It’s usually a FOAF: “Friend Of A Friend.”

When I meet with brides, they often tell horror stories about a recent wedding they attended (often as a bridesmaid) that was ruined by a terrible DJ. They start our conversation by spelling out what they don’t want at their own celebration!

Sometimes brides don’t hire a professional, because they over-spent on other items (food, flowers, decorating) and don’t have enough left in the budget for a professional Master of Ceremonies. So they hire the low bidder, and live to regret it.

Here are some of their stories:

We should have hired the DJ my sister had:

“Oh my God !! Our DJ was the worst. He was a friend of my maid of honor. She said he was good so I hired him. Though the music was decent, everybody hated him. He was obnoxious and rude on the microphone. I guess he thought his jokes were funny, but this was my wedding! My husband asked him to stop talking. We should have hired the DJ my sister had at her wedding. He was very professional.”

LESSON LEARNED: A friend may mean well, but often will not treat their important role in your wedding as seriously as a professional. Avoid hiring the FOAF.

SECONDARY LESSON: It’s more than just music! Notice, she said the music was “decent,” but she hated the DJ anyway. You need someone with a gift for public speaking, who can manage the mood, the flow, and the energy of your event, not just play music.

Different DJ than who we were told we would have:

“The DJ we received from this company was a different DJ than who we were told we would have. We met with him 2 days before our wedding to go over everything and he seemed confident that we would do a good job. However, during our reception, he played the wrong wedding party entrance song, mispronounced the names of my mother, my maid of honor, and the best man. He sounded very unprepared and unprofessional. Not only that, he barely spoke for the rest of the evening, and failed to announce our cake cutting so that half the guests missed it. I would never recommend this company to ANYONE.”

LESSON LEARNED: Some DJ companies you find on the Internet are only booking agencies, skimming a commission and contracting the cheapest DJ they can get, who often lacks the critical experience needed to do justice to your wedding.

The opportunity to meet your DJ face to face:

“He played the wrong song during the Grand Entrance, and he played the wrong song during the father-daughter dance, caught the mistake and then played the correct song. Both errors could have been avoided if I had an opportunity to meet my DJ face to face prior to the wedding date to clearly review what I wanted. Unfortunately this service does not provide you the opportunity to meet your DJ face to face until the day of the wedding. All correspondences are done through the owner David, and he may not be the DJ at your wedding.”

LESSON LEARNED: ALWAYS meet your DJ face to face! These days many people try to take care of things online. That works for buying a product. But when contracting for a service, especially one that requires talent and experience, you need to meet them in person. Your DJ and MC will be the “Voice” of your celebration, the host who represents your family. This is one vendor you should always meet in person.

This guy who DJ’d “on the side”

‎”A friend told us about this guy who DJ’d “on the side.” He was a fraction of the cost of other companies. We found out why, when he started hitting on the single girls during the bouquet toss. He did many inappropriate things that were completely embarrassing. We learned our lesson. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and do it again the right way!”

LESSON LEARNED: Professionals must earn a living from good referrals, and will always behave in a professional manner. An amateur doesn’t care about his reputation. Amateurs and wanna-be’s should be avoided!

OVERALL LESSON: Always get references, and contact them!

I always provide extensive references to brides. I find that most brides never check them (although often Daddy-with-the-checkbook will!) The best way to avoid “Cousin Darrell” is to hire vendors with outstanding recommendations. Take the time to check references, and your wedding won’t become another horror story!

And NO, the professionals are not unaffordable! Experienced professionals always have offerings for their low-budget clients, and care enough about you to work out a package that fits your budget. We understand that every bride deserves her special celebration!

When you make your living at this, you must not only be good at it, but must strive to exceed the customer’s expectations. Only then can you enjoy the kind of reputation that has made the Party Machine the top choice of event professionals for 35 years!

At Party Machine Celebrations, we always meet with brides, grooms, parents and wedding coordinators, in person and face-to-face. I will always be your MC, not some trainee. Your wedding will be impeccably planned so it will turn out just the way you want it – Your Wedding, Your Way! And PM Celebrations staff will always adhere to the American DJ Association Code of Professional Conduct.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 23

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by djscottshirley

23) Listen for the Squawks!

I love to fly. I have friends who are pilots, and have flown with them in small planes on numerous occasions. Today’s lesson was learned from pilots, but has served me well in the entertainment business.

The aircraft must be maintained 100 percent.

Every time a plane takes flight, it has to be perfect from a safety standpoint. 100% safe; if it’s only 98%, the plane must stay on the ground. A little thing like a loose connection could cause a tragic accident. So a pre-flight safety check must be performed before each and every take-off.

And every pilot keeps a “Squawk list.” If he notices an unusual noise or vibration, or that a light bulb is burned out on an instrument, he writes it on the list. Each item that needs attention is called a “squawk.”

And every squawk must be investigated and repaired, before the plane flies again.

This is a great way to maintain anything. With sound, lighting, and video systems, there are many little things that could go wrong. One bad cable could spoil a presentation. So we began tracking “squawks” at Party Machine Celebrations.

Failure to fix squawks can lead to disaster!

By keeping equipment impeccably maintained, and replacing gear as technology improves, we are able to maintain our perfect 100% service record: we have never had an event that started late, or was delayed by a technical malfunction. Never.

In 35 years, we have certainly experienced technical difficulties! But because of redundant systems, the show always goes on, without a delay.

But we don’t have many technical problems, because paying attention to the squawks prevents them from happening in the first place.

It’s part of “the Party Machine Difference.”

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 22

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by djscottshirley

22) Music Has Power!

Music can have an amazing effect on people. It can recall powerful memories. It can create a mood, for relaxation or for celebration. It can stir up deep emotions: feelings of love, or nationalistic feelings of pride.

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast”

When playwright William Congreve first penned the opening line of The Mourning Bride in 1697, he had no idea we would still be quoting him 300 years later. Nor could he have predicted the massive explosion of different genres of music we enjoy in the 21st century.

In his time there was formal classical music, and there was local folk music. There was no mass communication, no radio, TV nor “the Internets.” There was no means of recording music; in fact, the only way to publish music was the printed page, a technology scarcely 86 years old, at a time when literacy, especially music literacy, was uncommon.

There was Bach and Mozart, Beethoven was a young man, and Brahms, Chopin, and Mahler were not yet born.

He could never foresee the development of American country music, rhythm and blues, jazz, or rock and roll. The rich fusion of African, Caribbean, and Latin music that permeates today’s dance floors was never imagined back then. And who could have predicted hip-hop, even 50 years ago?

Congreve never knew Elvis, the Beatles, nor Beyoncé. He never would have understood the fan following of the Grateful Dead, Phish, Willie Nelson, or Jimmy Buffett’s parrotheads. The concept of George Strait filling an arena with fans on a cold New Year’s Eve, year after year after year, was unimaginable.

And how could you explain Kanye West, the artist formerly and once again known as Prince, or P Diddy to a 17th century man? Or grunge, punk, funk, 80s hair metal, or Lady GaGa? What about Techno, trance, and house music?

Now we turn to music all the time: in our cars, at our desks, while we work and while we play. Digital technology has made music portable and plentiful. Everyone today has an iPod, and can plug in to a unique musical world of his own choosing.

Listening to music of our own choosing is easier today.

We love our music! It’s powerful stuff.

Of course, Party Machine Celebrations has it all.

Weird Ethnic Traditions, Part 1

Posted in Weddings!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by djscottshirley

One response to “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?” This was the big question at the Southwest Entertainer’s Conference a few years ago.

I did a Peruvian wedding, and saw for the first time an Afro-Peruvian dance they call “the Alcatraz.” The bride had a napkin tucked into the sash of her gown, such that it resembled a tail. As she danced, a man followed behind her with a lighted candle, trying to light the napkin on fire. The bride’s goal was to shake her booty so fast that he couldn’t light her fire.

Here is a comical attempt at the Alcatraz I found on YouTube, using a Bic lighter.

I wonder if the classic Doors song “Light My Fire” was inspired by a Peruvian wedding?

Thirty-five years of the Party Machine has taught me to never assume I have seen everything! Somewhere, there is always something else that’s just plain weird.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years: #1

Posted in 35 Things Learned in 35 Years with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by djscottshirley

1) Always have a “Plan B”

And Plan C and Plan D. Murphy’s Law can be a real threat. Cars will break down, people will get sick, equipment will malfunction. It is foolish to operate with the attitude that nothing will ever go wrong. By having a contingency plan in place, when things go wrong, Plan B can be implemented quickly, before anyone even notices.

We owe our perfect service record to the Backup Plan!

By having contingency plans for hardware, software, transportation, staffing and music, Party Machine Celebrations has maintained a perfect record: ALL events start on time, and NO event has ever been delayed by equipment malfunction.